RMT to protest against rail fare hikes - by giving commuters chocolates

Catherine Neilan
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Rail Fare Protests At London's King's Cross Station
Commuters will be given chocolates to "sweeten the bitter pill of fare rises" (Source: Getty)

Rail union the RMT is planning a range of demonstrations at commuter stations for the first official day back at work, in protest against the latest fare increase.

A study carried out by the union claims that tomorrow's increase on season tickets of 3.6 per cent is more than 50 per cent higher than the increase in earnings over the last year.

The study, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of 1993's Railway Act, which led to the privatisation of the railways, also suggests that fares have increased at five-times the rate of public sector pay awards, and twice the speed of average earnings, since 2010.

The average commuter pays over 10 per cent their net income on fares, with some commuters paying as much as 20 per cent, the RMT found.

The protest will take place at 40 stations around the country, with RMT members handing out chocolates "to commuters to at least sweeten the bitter pill of the fare rises".

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It’s another New Year and yet another hike in fares for passengers. These eye watering increases will make it even harder for workers to get by."

RMT's study comes as Press Association analysis of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures found that British trains are now the oldest since current records began. On average, trains are 21.1 years old, older than at any point on record and 60 per cent older than in 2006.

The ORR has previously said this can make journeys slower, less comfortable and less reliable, adding to commuters' woes.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian times to improve services for passengers - providing faster and better, more comfortable trains with extra seats.

“This includes the first trains running though London on the Crossrail project, an entirely new Thameslink rail service and continuing work on the transformative Great North Rail Project.

“We keep fare prices under constant review and the price rises for this year are capped in line with inflation, with 97p out of every £1 paid going back into the railway."

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